Be bear aware this spring


REGIONAL —The Department of Natural Resources is reminding homeowners to be aware of bears this spring and check their property for food sources that could attract bears.


"Bears are roaming around now with the loss of snow and warmer weather, so interactions with people have started in many areas of Minnesota,*' said Eric Nelson, wildlife damage program supervisor for the DNR.


As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce. Remove attractants such as bird seed, garbage, livestock feed, or compost to reduce potential conflict. Attracting bears to yards can lead to property damage and presents dangers to bears.


Black bears are the only bear species that live in the wild in Minnesota. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.


The DNR does not relocate problem bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.


The DNR offers some tips for avoiding bear conflicts:


Around the yard

• Do not feed birds from April 1 to Nov. 15. Anytime you feed birds, you risk attracting bears. If choose to feed birds anyway, hang birdfeeders 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees. Use a rope and pulley system to refill birdfeeders, and clean up spilled seeds.

• Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).

• Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Do not add food scraps.

• Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.


Garbage

• Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.

• Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.